Bondfield Construction, the main contractor in the Kingston Secondary School building project, has been found in breach of several labour laws by the Ontario Labour Board.
The Ontario Labour Board received a grievance application from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Local Union 114 against Bondfield Construction Company Limited on November 30th, 2018, alleging that Bondfield breached the Labour Relations Act on multiple occasions through the school construction process.
According to the Ontario Labour Board, Bondfield Construction failed to respond to the grievance application, leading the Board to make a default decision on December 10th, 2018.
The Labour Board found that Bondfield had breached and continues to breach its collective agreement by employing non-unionized workers to perform work that was within the scope of the agreement at the Kingston Secondary School project.
The construction at issue, consisting of fireproofing and related work was, according to the union, subcontracted to Edanshield, a non-union subcontractor – even though, the union states, there were members of the union ready, willing and able to perform the work at all times.
The Labour Board ordered Bondfield Construction Company Ltd to pay damages to the union for all wages, overtime wages, vacation pay, pension contributions, benefit contributions, training contributions, union dues, and all other remittances, contributions and deductions that ought to have been paid to or on behalf of the members of the union. The total dollar amount of these damages has not yet been determined. The Labour Board is expected to make its determination of these costs at a hearing scheduled for January 10th, 2019.
The union also alleged that Bondfield Construction violated the collective agreement at other projects, but the Labour Board found that there was not enough information in the application to make a finding on those allegations. The Board informed the union that, in addition to its submission regarding damages at the Kingston Secondary School project, it could also provide further evidence in relation to the additional allegations at the January 10th hearing.
Bondfield has been experiencing significant delays at several projects and has reportedly been having trouble paying subcontractors, putting several of those projects in jeopardy, according to a report from the Globe and Mail. To date, thirteen Bondfield projects have been delayed and three have been cancelled outright due to the delays.
Originally planned to be opened in September of 2019, the $44-million Kingston Secondary School build has been the subject of several parent and student complaints and has experienced several setbacks since construction began. The Limestone District School Board recently confirmed that its completion would be delayed and it would not meet its 2019 opening date. A Dec. 12, 2018 email from the Limestone District School Board and a website update confirmed that the project was behind schedule due to “unforeseen delays and disruptions.” The LDSB website post also announced that the school would no longer be opening on its expected timeline of September 2019. “The Board is working with the contractor to develop a revised construction schedule,” the post said, to be shared with the community “as soon as possible, likely in January.” Students and staff will remain at KCVI until further notice, said the Board, and the move is now anticipated to occur sometime within the 2019-2020 school year.